lane county fair 2014

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I’m a big fan of the county fair.  You can see the entire set of my photos here.  This was the first year I’ve been able to go and wander at my leisure, neither being in a wheelchair nor overscheduled, as I have been in past fairs.  And it wasn’t 90 degrees yesterday, another big plus.

If you do go, be sure to see the animals the 4-H kids have raised and all the exhibits indoors.  That’s really what the fair’s about, not the Zipper and deep-fried candy.  We’re struggling to keep the Lane County Extension 4-H programming alive due to budget cuts, so awareness and appreciation of all the good things that come from agriculture and animal husbandry education are essential.  All the baking, preservation, art, and gardening exhibits include kids’ divisions.

IMG_8197 IMG_5879 IMG_5988I noticed this year’s fair has a slightly — slightly — more conservationist quality to it.  Didn’t see the religious trailer “ARE YOU GOING TO HEAVEN?!” and there were only a few Confederate flags flying next to the gay pride and legalize pot ones.  And there was a family farm booth.  Plus, of course, the Master Food Preservers, Master Gardeners, book vendors, and MECCA’s reuse booth.  And education about the environment and animals via the parrot pirate and the sea lion show…well, there’s that.

PS.  Note to roasted corn boss: let the servers roast the corn properly.  It was only roasted on the outside, and corn, like life, is improved with a little char. Love, CE.

niblets: fair food edition

  • If you’re anywhere within hearing distance, you already know the Fairgrounds have turned in to that fried food glory palace known as the Lane County Fair.  These shots are from last year, since I haven’t been yet, but I’m willing to bet there’s a similar line up.
  • And in very different food fairness news, join us on Food for Thought on KLCC this Sunday at noon for developing coverage on the canola planting controversy in the Willamette Valley.  More resources about the temporary rule change — and the stay of the action in appeals — here.  We’ll be joined by Andrew Still, a farmer and seed developer in Sweet Home.  He co-owns Open Oak Farm and Adaptive Seeds, who will be affected by canola cross-pollination.  We’ll also be joined by Mark Kosmicki of PartyCart fame, on to talk about the locavore cart and its latest experiments in both food and cart management.
  • Congratulations to Chef Jeff Strom, who won not only the Iron Chef Eugene competition but also the coveted Iron Chef Oregon title for 2012!  He did us proud last weekend up in Portland.  Strom joins Iron Chef Oregon 2010 Gabriel Gil, who represented Eugene for the win two years ago…

…and is currently cooking Mexican-American cart food at PartyCart as a special guest chef for the week.  You still have until Friday to check it out — some wonderful stuff, including the octopus-jicama-cilantro-cucumber salad and little cheesy dumplings with spinach, mushrooms, and a rust-red chile sauce.

Word on the street is that Chef Gil’s former home away from home, Rabbit Bistro, will be opening at its new location downtown in October under a new name with a fabulous new menu that allows Gil the ability to prepare innovative PNW cuisine.  We can’t wait!

  • NEW RESTAURANT ALERT!  Bon Mi, at 8th and Oak, is a Vietnamese-French sandwich shop featuring bahn mi, the delicious delicious Viet sandwiches that usually consist of marinated pork, pickled daikon and carrot, cucumber, lettuce, and a slice of soft organ-meat cold cut.  Bon Mi makes it more Eugene-friendly, allowing paté as an add-on to very respectable pork, beef, or tofu bahn mi on extra fresh and crusty baguettes.  The pho isn’t quite as good, but the broth is better than others in town.
  • As you may have seen in the Register-Guard, Brails is under new stewardship.  They are offering more classic diner food at dinner time.
  • Falling Sky Brewery now has an industry discount on Monday nights.  Inquire within (their Facebook page).
  • And don’t forget that Marché restaurant is offering Julia Child at 100 specials for the next few days.  See a menu and more information here.

  • Interested in trying your hand at canning?  The Lane County Fair judges say there’s been an upsurge in young people entering items at the fair.  You can try out your hand next year if you win some canning equipment being raffled at the Springfield Farmers Market (Sprout) tomorrow.  5th and A Streets at the Library Fountain Plaza, 3-7 p.m.  Good luck!

lane county fair 2011 opens today!

EDITED TO ADD: See my 2011 photo album on Facebook!

I really love the county fair, with its creepy carnival rides, heart-attack food, and exhibits of animals and food products.  I’ll be there today with the Master Food Preservers and other Extension groups ready to talk about food safety and preservation to anyone in hearing range.  My shift is 12-2 p.m.  Come say hi!  It’s over at the, duh, Fairgrounds at 13th and Jefferson/Friendly/Jackson.

Some of my MFP colleagues are judges in the food-in-jars competition, and that’s always fun, too.  New canners should definitely stop by to see some of these gorgeous pickles and crystal clear jellies and broths.  I always get good ideas from the preserved products I see.

How will the elimination of 4-H from our county affect the animal show this year and in subsequent years?  I know that Lane County program directors and teachers have been traveling long distances to other counties to continue their work with 4-H kids, and I’d imagine the kids have been displaced, too.  Will they continue to show up at our fair?

By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about the preservation techniques you’ll see at the fair, check out our Master Food Preserver Alliance Facebook page for more information about classes.  I think there are still spaces left in the tomato canning and meat canning classes.  (MFP tomato/salsa class on August 26 and the meat canning class on September 23. $15/class. Call 541-344-4885 for information.)  Tuna are all full, but we’re taking a (rather long) list of interested parties for next year.  Also, more classes to come in fall and spring!

fair enough

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Have you been to the Lane County Fair yet?  I gave my talk on blackberries there the other day, but it was so hot I couldn’t spend more than an hour walking around and looking at the exhibits and rides.  Still, I managed to snap a few shots of the local color.

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Fun to look at all the canning efforts, some so much better than anything I’m capable of doing; others, well, grey dill relish.

I do hope to get back before it ends, so I can see the animals and vegetables.  And minerals, too, I suppose.  Right now, here I am, pondering my looming dissertation deadline:

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Let’s hope the safety belt is operating properly!